The Burn at the side of my son's house at Windwick.

At the end of last month, I found a plant that was new to me, it was on the banks of the burn-in the damp vegetation,  it had reddish stems and flower buds, the front of the leaves were green and the whole plant was covered in white Downey hairs, the flower heads were drooping and although the buds were partially open they were showing orange-pink flowers, a short search on google gave me the answer, water avens, (Geum rivale).

water avens, (Geum rivale)

One week later and I visited the site again to obtain more pictures, the problem with this is the plant loves to grow on the boggy ground and the flower heads droop down, making it necessary to lay flat on the ground and point the camera up to frame the image, success does not come easily ,

water avens, (Geum rivale)

Well worth getting wet.

Water Avens

Water avens is a locally common plant that inhabits damp places, such as riversides, wet woodlands and damp meadows. A close relative of Wood avens, it's nodding, bell-shaped flowers are multi-coloured, They appear from May to September and are followed by feathery seed heads. The cup-shaped flowers have dark red sepals that surround orangey-pink petals and a cluster of yellow stamens; they hang delicately on long, purple stems. The round leaves are usually found at the base of the stem. Mainly found in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Locally common in parts of England.

 In Orkney, we have many nature photographers covering the bigger subjects such as Birds, Seals, Otters and not forgetting Whales & Dolphins, so I try to cover the other smaller but just as interesting and often overlooked by the casual observer, so you might get a few bigger subjects but mainly the ones passed by many.

At this time of the year in Orkney, things start to move a bit faster, with the warmer weather and the endless day's life pick's up a gear or two, This little fellow I have tried to photograph a number of times over the years but only ever managed to find one or two subjects, my luck was in last week when I took a walk along the east shore of the bay, only ten minutes into my walk I caught a green glint of light in the vegetation along the shoreline, on closer investigation, it turned out to be iridescent green beetles, not one or two but over fifty in a large patch of Dock plants.

Green Dock Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula

Length 4 to 6 mm. A small green-golden beetle the elytra often seem to have a sheen. Usually found on Dock plants, it can be seen anywhere that Dock is present, such as roadside verges and field margins. The pregnant female is very noticeable. Her body becomes so swollen that the wing cases are totally displaced. The larvae feed on Dock leaves. Its Status is Common and widespread in Britain but being so small often overlooked, I walked on along the shore with a wide smile, having the satisfaction of finally getting some good images.

No comments this time, just a burst of colour.

Don't forget to double click the images

for a larger view.

Cuckooflower Cardamine pretensis

Common dog-violet, Viola riviniana,


On June 5th this Potter wasp (Ancistrocerus oviventris), below completed her first egg cell. on July 9th, she completed the last egg cell, not sure how many eggs as some cells are small some are big, a mammoth build for such a small insect.

The 1st cell compleat. The cells behind & above her are Last years cells.

A few more cells compleated .old cells are repaired and reused.

Laying the last egg.

The topping off ceramony.

The finnished build.

 The Potter or Mason wasp (Ancistrocerus oviventris) is one of two Potter wasps in Orkney, the other being(Ancistrocerus scoticus)oviventris being the most common they build their nests out of mud and small particles of stone when the cell is finished the female stocks the cell with a paralyzed caterpillar on which she lays her egg. They are easy to tell apart as oviventris has six yellow bands in her abdomen and scoticus has three

I have carried out a series of searches on Google on the subject of Mason or potter wasps, but there is limited information, the questions I need answering are as follows

1# How many eggs are laid in each cell, as I have only been lucky enough to observe the adult placing one caterpillar in the cell, but the cells are quite large, so there may be more than one egg.

2# How long before the eggs hatch and the young leave the cell, the only information suggests when the eggs hatch the food store only lasts around twelve days.

3# How do the adults & young spend the winter, do they hibernate and if so together or on their own.

Hopefully I will be able to answer some of these questions next year.